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Leading a remote design team requires clear communication channels, fostering a culture of trust and accountability, and leveraging technology for collaboration. Regular check-ins via video conferences and messaging platforms help keep the team connected and aligned on goals. Encouraging autonomy while providing support when needed fosters creativity and ownership among team members. Additionally, establishing clear workflows and project management processes ensures efficient coordination and delivery of high-quality work despite geographical distances.

2018, we were awarded our first large project to date for our motion design studio titled, ‘Near Future 4’. I got to lead a team of 8, consisting of:

  • 1 Project Manager,
  • 1 Editor,
  • 2 Designers,
  • 1 VFX Lead &
  • 3 Motion Graphics Artists,

within the post-production span of about 2.5 months. This won’t be an in depth post, but a couple of the factors that allowed for the manifestation and completion of this:

Without the experience of having lead Design/Animation/VFX projects like this before, in-house, at other studios and agencies, I certainly wouldn’t have had the intel, skill, and aptitude for being able to orchestrate and solve for these technical/creative problems. Trust was acquired originally through working with each artist or client, to some degree, in person, before remote work consideration was an option. And this is not to say that trust can’t be earned with new remote team members or clients, but having a track record helps.

Through the years, as I transitioned from freelancer to studio owner, I continued to work with my trusted creative network, and I experimented each time… Weather it was trying various approaches to internal/external communications, video conferencing, cloud based storage, integration with local servers, VFX pipeline development & daily postings.. the one thing that was consistent, is that each project discovered it’s own process, in which it would thrive.

One thing I learned about myself that I brought to the table, when I used to work as staff or in-house, is that I was able to transmute the intense focus of solving technical animation problems, and merging it with keeping not only myself entertained and uplifted, but also spreading the joy of creative problem solving, to the rest of the artists in the studio. Even in a remote environment, I hold space for the nuances, expression and quirkiness, of all the creatives involved, so that we continue to enjoy the work that we do, with the people we do it with.

Watch the full Near Future 4 video: